Saturday, March 25, 2017

1983: Heavy Music Grows Tentacles

Heavy music started to branch out in about a million different directions this year.  Here is a playlist filled with quite a diversity of heavy sounds from 1983.  Enjoy its schizophrenic awesomeness:
PS:  Don't tune out when you see Journey leading it off.  If you pay attention, you'll be reminded that each member of Journey was a rock musician of heavyweight caliber.  And even though Separate Ways was considered a pop hit, it is  heavy (I personally think it is begging for a death-metal re-make).  While I personally prefer Journey's earlier albums, I do like every tune on Frontiers, and I love each and every tune on this playlist.  Hope it either brings back fond memories, or for the younger crowd, hope it expands your musical horizons.
PS:  I won't argue with you if you tell me the Rolling Stones tune isn't heavy, but I maintain that the subject matter (serial killers) makes it an honorary heavy music member. "Don't saw off me leg.. me arm"

Catch you with an album review next weekend.  Stay Heavy!    -ULTRA

Friday, March 24, 2017

LOTD! All That Remains HALO

Halo is another great tune by ATR off their upcoming album, Madness. Can't wait for this to drop!

Friday, March 17, 2017

6 Awesome Heavy Stoner Tracks for 4.20 Canadian (about $3.14)

This Montreal band has some legit balls, and has made their debut with six tracks worthy of twenty year veterans.  The Naked High is somewhere between metal and hard rock, with just a touch of doom.  Excellent musicianship, songwriting and production quality (recorded, mixed and mastered at badass studio, wherever that is).  I keep playing this one, and the digital download comes with lyrics, which are worth it for the song "Juice" alone (a song about Colonel Angus, so to speak).  Here's a good example of an album where the cover art pretty much performs perfect vetting for its clientele.   If you dig the cover, I'm pretty sure you'll dig the tunes, and if the cover is a turn-off for you, you are probably making the right call to walk away.  Here is the opener, "Mean Amphetamine".  It gets better and better as it progresses.

Now another highlight, track 5, "I Trip Alone":
I bought this because it's awesome and because I want to hear another album.  If you feel the same way, you'll find it here:The Naked High EP on Bandcamp.  You can also check out the lyrics by clicking on a tune name.  
The Naked High is:

Vocals : Simon Ouellet 
Guitar : Hugo Leclerc-Charron 
Bass : Phil Rod 
Drums : Charlie Cayouette

Back next weekend; Until then, stay as heavy as the 38,000 pounds of cheese that shut down the expressway on Thursday morning.  Over and out

Friday, March 10, 2017


Lisa Alley (bass & vocals), Ian Graham (guitar & vocals) and Jason Sullivan (drums) of  heavy psych heavyweights The Well were kind enough to put quality time into answering some questions for me this week, and here's how it went down:

Ultra: First of all, I want to say how much I appreciate the Bandcamp site and interface.  I find listeners who like the same bands as me, follow them, and get e-mails when they buy new stuff.  Then I find bands like The Well, who simply blew me away with your inspired songwriting, distinctive harmonizations and truly unique sound.  The three of you are so tasteful in what you play, to an extent that my words can’t possibly convey.  

Ultra: The cover art is striking.  I see in my CD jacket that the artist is Adam Hunter Caldwell.  How did you come to find him, and what meaning does the album art have for you?

Lisa: The art is sourced similarly to how you discovered our band, actually, through social media. Our label, Riding Easy Records, found both Adam Hunter Caldwell’s painting and the art for Samsara (by Abbey Watkins) via instagram. The art gives an element of mystery with the title, Pagan Science, juxtaposed with such an image. There’s an obvious religious connotation with the halo, but a mask, a plastic film, distorting it, leaving room for ambiguity. 

Ultra: Where was the sound clip “Forecast” about Pagan Science/Pagan Technology taken from? 

Ian: That was Dr. Timothy Leary speaking in a lecture that I happened upon online. It was regarding unpopular and persecuted ideas and/or sciences that was akin to what happened during the crusades, when knowledge was pushed back by pious moralism - which to a certain degree this is still happening. Illegal ideas. 

Ultra: Do any of you practice paganism?

Ian: I respect ritual in various forms. I have practiced paganism and/or witchcraft, in my younger years, which definitely left a lasting impact on my personality. I now consider myself an agnostics agnostic, because I barely believe the bullshit that goes on in my head, let alone other peoples, so it’s hard to subscribe to any particular sect. Though, I do value meditation. 

Ultra: You clearly put more thought into your lyrics than almost everybody.  Who writes most of the lyrics, and were you considered a good writer in school?  

Ian: I do. Was I a good writer in school? I used to write a lot of poetry when I was a kid and I’d give it to girls and they seemed to like it. But I dropped out of school in 9th grade. Didn’t stop reading though! 

Ultra: I have to know:  What were some of the first rock bands you ever listened to, and how have your tastes evolved to the current day?

Ian: My dad was a metal drummer, so I don’t remember not listening to metal in the 80s. My first favorite band was Twisted Sister, and Black Sabbath… Motley Crue… normal boiler plate metal stuff. Then I got into punk rock and decided everything else sucked. Except Sabbath… Sabbath was the only constant. 

Jason: My first rock bands were sourced from my dad too - Pink Floyd, Sabbath. My tastes have fluctuated over the years, but I find myself returning to the staples through my youth… right now I’m listening to a lot of Type O Negative. 

 Lisa: Yeah, my firsts were similar… Pink Floyd especially. While I’ll always stay there, I’ve also found myself in recent years going beyond what I knew as a kid, mainly geographically. I’ve been into a lot of international blues and psych… Ali Farka Toure, Erkin Koray, Tinariwen… 

Ultra: What was the first rock concert you ever saw, and what was the best one you’ve ever been to?

Jason: First was Korn and Stained. Ha! 

Ian: I’m going to show how old I am here. My first was Great White, Tesla, and Badlands at the state fair in Ducoin, IL. Granted, I was nine years old. 

Lisa: Mine kinda dates me as well. My first rock show was the Strokes at the old, still grimy, Austin Music Hall.

Jason: Best I ever saw was Gogol Bordello on my birthday; they let me backstage and I got to hang out with Eugene.

Ian: Seeing Nirvana on the day Frank Zappa died was probably the best show I’ve ever seen. They were doing acoustic Frank Zappa covers and they played for around 2 1/2 hours. Shonen Knife and the Breeders opened for them. It was insane. 

Lisa: I think my favorite show was seeing Om a few years ago at Rubber Gloves in Denton. They turned down the lights to where the small room was pitch black and the packed in crowd was silent, reverent, for their whole set. It was a very communal, almost spiritual experience. 

Ultra: Lisa, how old were you when you first played bass?

 Lisa: Ha! Well, I was 22 years old. It was just before we started The Well. Ian had been kicked out of his previous band for being, “reclusive and despondent.” I got him whiskey drunk to try to lift his spirits. After many hours of consolation, he had the grand idea that we just start our own band. It started that night with me on bass and him on guitar. I’d played guitar before, but that was the first time with the bass and it was a seamless transition. 

Ultra: Playing in a rock band is far more common for males than females.  I am curious as to whether playing rock made you more popular with your girlfriends or distanced you from them and caused you to have more male friends.   

Lisa: I think if you commit yourself to anything, it’s inevitable that some friendships will suffer. So yeah, when we began The Well and realized quickly that this wasn’t just going to be some weekend hobby, I was slightly distanced from my female friendships that had since held a large placeholder in my social life. I’d definitely say that I’ve made closer friendships with a lot of guys as a result of the band, particularly through tour, since you’re essentially thrown together with likeminded people who have similarly forsaken the straight life for their art. I’ve also met a lot of badass women through the band - other musicians, artists, promoters, and fans. They might not be as frequent, but when I do come across women in the industry, there is almost always an instant connection, a camaraderie. 

Ultra: If the only thing you could listen to this week was a playlist of five albums, what albums would you pick?

Ian: Acid King, Busse Woods; Burning Spear, Garvey’s Ghost; Celtic Frost, To Mega Therion; Butthole Surfers, Independent Worm Saloon; and any random Grateful Dead bootleg from the late 70s 

Lisa: Erkin Koray, Elektronik Turkuler; Tinariwen, Emmaar; Om, Adviatic Songs; Neil Young, After the Gold Rush; Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin 

 Jason: B.R.M.C, Howl; Pink Floyd, Saucer Full of Secrets;  White Stripes, White Blood Cells; Wu Tang Clan, Enter the Wu Tang; Flaming Lips, In a Priest Driven Ambulance

Ultra: Are you able to make The Well your full time job, or do the three of you have side jobs as well?

Ian: Side jobs, fuck. I work at one of the worlds largest video rental stores, I luv Video. I’m basically a librarian. 

Lisa: Yeah, I work as a barista and pick up at Waterloo Records here and there. 

 Jason: I’m a cook at a local Austin restaurant. We’re ready for The Well to be full time though!

Ultra:Do any of you have children, and if so, do they enjoy listening to you play?


Ultra:Will you be touring in Massachusetts or Rhode Island any time this year?

 Not specifically, but we’re playing Maryland Doom Fest and around New England in June. 

Ultra: I consider it an honor to have gotten to interview one of my new favorite bands, and I appreciate you taking the time for this.  I am guessing it will take a couple of years, but can’t wait to hear your next album when the day comes.  I am going to do my best to spread the word about The Well in the meantime.  I wish you the best of luck and lots of success in 2017.    

The Well gave me my a great interview, and their sincerity shows just as much in their responses as it does in their music.  If you have not done so, check out The Well here.  If you have appreciated any of my recommendations over the years, understand that this band is in the stratosphere of my recommendations to you, and I am confident if you give Samsara and Pagan Science a listen, you will want to own them just like I did.  Thanks for reading, catch you next weekend with something new.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

OFF THE TOP - An Interview with Rocker/Pro Wrestler Ryan Vox!

Hey guys and gals, this week we're introducing a new interview segment, OFF THE TOP.  This section allows me to indulge in two of my loves, heavy metal and sports entertainment (aka Pro Wrestling). 
Professional Wrestling is an art form that combines charisma, storytelling and physically demanding performances. OFF THE TOP" will be a unique opportunity to discuss not only Metal/Punk/Rock music but also how it crosses over to the profession of being a wrestling performer. 
Ryan Vox is the perfect first guest for this segment. He has rocked crowds from the stage with his band Avoiding the Angel and the squared circle with his tag team Motley Tüe. Vox provides a unique perspective on the similarities of both arenas. This was a fun interview, as many of the questions just came "OFF THE TOP" of my head and Ryan was totally game. Checkout our interview and the links below for more info on when and where you can find Ryan.
HMT: How difficult is it to come up with entrance music that fits your character? 
VOX:  For me it was very difficult. There's so many great songs, that I identify with, but probably wouldn't work as a wrestler. I've been through a few, but am currently using Steve Vai's Building the Church. It's a great instrumental and has a 90s WCW vibe to it, which suits me perfectly.
HMT: Steel Cage dream match, Vic Rattlehead vs Maidens Eddie? Who's your pick to win and why?
VOX: I've gotta go with Eddie. Vic is a symbol for See No, Hear No, Speak no Evil, which makes for a great babyface character, but Eddie has always been a solider. Always been a fighter. Besides, I had tons of Eddie posters in my room growing up. I always considered him the coolest mascot ever.

Ultimate Steel Cage Match
HMT: What instrument would make the best foreign object?
VOX: So difficult. A bass would do the most damage, and hitting someone with a bass drum would be fun, but the best would probably be a live Mic. It'll break apart (mine does) and if it's live it'll make 2 great noises. The shot, and then the sound of a broken mic, which is just ugly. Plus, it's small and there's already mics at ringside (or in my vest pocket).

Vox in his element
HMT: Dead or alive, if you could pick one musician to be your tag partner, who and why?
VOX: So, Van Hammer, and Maxx Payne probably don't count, neither would Jericho, lol. I'm going with Kerry King. He already looks like a Pro Wrestler and could probably handle himself in a fight. Plus, one of his V's could make for some cool spots.
HMT: Most metal moment in wrestling?
VOX: Overall, I'd have to say the Punk vs Cena feud was pretty metal. It kept the spirit of the Outcast vs the Establishment, and in the end, the Outcast prevailed, showing that the Establishment can be brought down.
Personally, it had to be the first time I used Vai as my entrance music. I was still a Babyface, and it worked perfectly. The fans got so loud, it was like being on stage and hearing the audience Roar.

Beat down city
HMT: What do you bring from your career as a true rock performer to the wrestling ring?
VOX: The two businesses are so very similar, that it made navigating the backstage world much easier for me, as well as marketing and merchandising. My background also gave me confidence in front of large crowds, and the ability to connect to smaller ones as well. Wrestling was always a part of my Stage Persona, so making Music a part of my In Ring Persona came very naturally.
HMT: Who is your biggest influence?
VOX: Musically, I was always influenced by a wide variety of groups. Everything from Queen to Wu Tang to Avenged. I always thought that it helped me stand out to be able to sing, then slip into more of a Rap style, and immediately start screaming afterwards. Atreyu ended up being pivotal to me, as they combined styles better than most bands, and I still could connect to the lyrics.
I'm wrestling, I'm similar. I love the Pillmans of the world, just as much as I love the Windhams. Brad Armstrong was just about perfect, in my eyes.
HMT: Favorite fan interaction as a performer in the ring and on stage?
VOX: On stage is easy. We played one of the bigger venues in Philly, called the Trocadero, and making that place erupt into a circle pit was the greatest thing I was ever a part of. In wrestling, I recently had a match with my partner Wildside (I'm LiveWire), and we came out to Kickstart My Heart and had the whole place doing the "Whoa! Yeah!" parts with us. It was almost surreal.

Rock Star
HMT: Lastly, what are your goals for 2017?
VOX: As for my Goals for 2017, I just want to be busier. I've gotten tens of thousands of miles under my belt, and 3 Tag Titles so far, and I want to keep expanding. My end goal is to become a Trainer and be part of a company where I get to Book. To get there, I need to make as big of a name for myself as possible while still in the ring, and every show is another opportunity to do so.


For More Info about Ryan, See info Below.

Official Facebook -
Official Twitter - @realryanvox
Official Youtube -
Official Avoiding The Angel Facebook -

Saturday, March 4, 2017

STINKING LIZAVETA: Journey To The Underworld
It's been five years, and Stinking Liz has used those five years well.  "Journey To The Underworld" is as good as anything the band has released.  If you are unfamiliar with Stinking Lizaveta (and the odds are good that you are, since they are about as underground as a stoner rock band with twenty plus years of experience could be), they are a three piece instrumental band from Philadelphia that sounds like a jazz band taking acid and smoking crack at the same time.  By this I mean that they are super-talented musicians with a never-ending supply of off-beat ideas, and a seemingly endless supply of energy.  Two brothers on bass and guitar, and a female drummer who sounds like she's been playing since age two, these 'guys' manage to be creative while maintaining a recognizable sound for over two decades.  Alexi plays an electric stand-up bass, which immediately sets the band apart from any other you probably listen to.  Here is "Six Fangs": pretty sure there is jazz, rock and punk rolled into one fat tune right here:

"Journey To The Underworld" is a great place to start for this band, but if you like it and want more, you should follow up with 2009's "Sacrifice and Bliss".  Here is "We Will See", one of my numerous favorites from the album:
Here is a live video for "10,000 Hours" which gives you a feel for this band's sincerity and abiltiy at the same time: (this is not on any album, to my knowledge)
Lastly, a video for "The Hanged Man", off of "III":
As you can see, I like this band a lot and hope you will check them out.
Stinking Lizaveta is (l-r):

Yanni Papadopoulos (best name ever!): Guitar
Cheshire Agusta: Drums
Alexi Papadopoulos: Bass
You know I got some more for next weekend, so set a reminder for yourself, alright?  In the meantime, you know what to do: keep a lookout for any "Grownman Gold".
Later!  -ULTRA

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"ME"TAL 101 Exclusive with HELL NIGHT

We're proud to bring to you our latest exclusive "ME"TAL 101 interview! This month we get the intel on Hell Night and their latest mini LP release, Human Shelves. I first heard about the band while doing a little research on what Brian Fair (Shadows Fall/Overcast) was up to these days. St. Louis Metallers, Hell Night recruited Fair after the departure of their former vocalist in 2016. The band had 8 previous independent releases prior to Human Shelves. Hell Night's wide range of influences really put them in a category of their own. Human Shelves, their first with Brian Fair, showcases Hell Night's multilayered attack and intensity. The band plans on a follow up EP this May.

For now make sure to pick up Human Shelves and check out our in depth interview with the band below.

HMT: I recently found Hell Night through your bandcamp site where all of your recordings are available to stream and purchase. I've asked many bands about the site, how important has Bandcamp been to getting your music out to the larger world wide audience?

Brian: It is a great way to get music out there immediately and without a distribution network so it is perfect for today’s music industry. It really allows bands that aren’t looking to be tied in with a label or to follow a traditional release schedule, a great way to get the songs out there on their own terms.

Eric: It’s been imperative. It's free and allows you to stream and sell your music and merch. Obviously, there are other digital distro methods available and we're looking into all options but Bandcamp is a perfect starting point.

Andy: Bandcamp rules! it allows fans to give more money directly to us. I don’t know if a lot of people really search for new music on Bandcamp but I’m glad that has become the standard location for bands to keep their jams for sale or stream.

HUMAN SHELVES Now Available on Bandcamp

HMT: Human Shelves is your first recording with Brian Fair (Shadows Fall, Overcast). Tell me about how this partnership came together and what the collaboration means to the band?

Brian: I actually saw Hell Night for the first time because my wife had grown up with the former singer Mike. They instantly became my favorite local band. Just crazy energy and intensity and they didn’t fit neatly into any one category besides loud and aggressive. I started skating a bunch with Andy and when Mike decided to step down from the band he asked me to jam and that was that. I was stoked to jam with these guys and we began writing new material right out of the gates.

Adam: I am a fanboy, and I had to beg Brian to play with us. He gave in.

Andy: St. Louis is really small so when a dude my age who has been in metal bands, and is into punk bands and skateboarding moves here, he’s easy to run into. Writing with him is awesome, his knowledge of random rock and roll and hardcore brings a lot of easy communication to the table and we all sort of come from a similar jaded older guy place so it works really well. We write really fast and so does he, it rules. His voice rules, he is rad and we love the guy.

Eric: I too was a longtime fan, met a few years back through mutual friends - homeboy seemed nice.

Brian Fair laying down vocals

HMT: After the very first listen to Human Shelves, I thought of a band I haven't listened to in many years, AMEN. There is a combination of intensity, immediacy and artsy grooviness that very few bands can pull off in the fashion your bringing with this mini LP. What are your collective influences as a band?

Adam: I have Deep Purple influences on Human Shelves, just what I was slamming at that time...

Brian: That’s crazy you mentioned AMEN!!! I love that band and think they are criminally underrated. Shadows Fall toured with them in our early days right after the released “We’ve Come For Your Children”. They were so brutal live with that lineup with Paul Fig and Sonny Mayo on guitar, Tumor on bass, Shannon Larkin on drums and Casey Chaos just shredding his vocal chords. I can see how you get a bit of them in our music. We have that same punk vibe but filtered through years of metal and rock and roll.

Eric: as far as overall influences, we all have different favorites, but a lot of us grew up listening to similar genres. My personal evolution is probably classic rock to metal to punk/hardcore to indie to soundtracks.

Andy: For me guitar wise the big influences are East Bay Ray, Dr. Know, Ritchie Blackmore, Buzzo…. On that album there were a lot of things we were trying to pull off like, some being really simple direct punk songs and some aiming for a big dumb elephant sound, others more industrial song the main inspiration was like Judas Priest and Blue Oyster Cult. A lot of BOC riffs are really snaky and slimy and I love that…or like, the "Rock- a- Rolla" riff from Priest, that kind of thing where it’s not a smart riff, but it’s a good riff with a lot of attitude. My goal is to write stuff that is like "Smoke on the Water", where it’s so easy but as a guitarist you go “why didn’t I think of that?” when you hear it. We write fast, if a song is taking three practices to complete, then that usually means something is wrong and we toss it. A lot of those were written in one practice.

HELL NIGHT in studio

HMT: Speaking of influences, which artist or band(s) initially turned you onto the idea of performing music?

Brian: For myself it was Kiss and Maiden that first got me into music but later on it was HR of the Bad Brains, Eddie Sutton of Leeway and Chuck Billy of Testament that helped to shape my vocal approach.

Adam: Personally G'NR, Led Zep, Faith No More, Primus

Eric: I worshipped KISS, the Beatles and the Monkees as a kid and they made me want to play music. Eventually seeing a Destroyer style bass in Def Leppard made me want to play bass instead of guitar plus, more bands needed bass players than guitarists

Andy: A lot of local bands in St. Louis when I was in my 20s really kind of made me go “wow I think I can do that!” more than anything.

Hell Night in Studio

HMT: For the gear heads out, what kind of setup are you personally using? I love the grinding and industrial feel of the riffs.

Andy: Guitar wise I play a lot of strats and single coil guitars. Although lately I have been using a Washburn 80s guitar that has humbuckers, and one of my strats has humbuckers. Weird older fuzz pedals, I use a couple distortion pedals made by Brad Sarno who is a local dude here who is awesome. Sarno Music Solutions, check out his stuff. I use two amps, a 1980 Marshall super lead and a 68 Traynor Bass Master and two different cabs with different speaker combinations. I try to get my guitar to sound more like an angry synth than anything. The shits pretty loud and we are definitely a loud live band.

Brian: I yell into a stick and occasionally use a delay pedal.

Eric: overdriven tube Ampeg and Fender "nothing spectacular" Bass

Adam: DW till death cuz you know it's the best and Stagg cymbals because I break em like fuck
HMT: What can we expect from Hell Night in 2017? Any tours or gigs we can look forward to?

Andy: If we do any travel it will really be weekend warrior stuff. We are all busy with work and Brian has two kids I have my first coming in May. Wish we had the time and the money to do big long tours but we don’t, but there are friends we want to visit in some cities. We just recorded another 4 song ep. It’s 3 new songs and one cover, it will be out in May.

Brian: Locals shows for the next little while then who knows.

Hell Night Live On Stage

HMT: I've always felt that revolution starts with the disenfranchised young dude (or dudette) on the street who's prized possessions may be a Black Flag album, a worn pair of vans and a skateboard. In America, Punk and Metal have always thrived during the worst times, politically speaking. From Bad Brains to the Circle Jerks and all points between. Given the political upheaval we are currently going through, does all this political bullshit and national divide influence your mission or music as a band?

Brian: I think there will be an uptick in politically charged music or just music built out of frustration in general. It is a cathartic thing to scream out at what if driving you crazy and music can be a catalyst but true change comes from what you do with your life and the actions you make to change the world around you. Just screaming about won’t get anything done.
HMT: Lastly, If you had one chance to speak to a younger version of yourself. What would that message be?

Brian: I would tell him to spend more time exploring the cities and countries you visit and less time sleeping off a hangover on the tour bus. And keep skating with no breaks or you will be forced to learn all of your tricks every few years. Oh! and invest in Sirius Satellite radio when you have a chance. Jose Mangin, music director of liquid metal and more, sent me an investment packet right when things were about to launch and unfortunately, I was a part time ice cream maker / fledgling metal singer so I didn’t exactly have any expendable income at the time but if I knew how big it would get I would have found a way. Haha.

Eric: Get serious earlier you fucking asshole.

Andy: “Hey dude, don’t take those breaks from skateboarding, stick with it. Also, start playing in bands now, like, in High School. Oh, wear ear plugs! Start doing that now you shit brain! Go to school you asshole! It’s stupid and easy who cares just go!”

Adam: Practice way more.

Listen to a track from Human Shelves below.

Hell Night
Background Info: Started in 2014, released 8 independent releases. Mini LP Human Shelves was released 12/23/16 and was Hell Night's first with Brian Fair. New ep will be out May 6th 2017.

Hell Night is:
Brian Fair - Vocals
Andy White - Guitar
Eric Eyster - Bass
Adam Arseneau - Drums

Official Hell Night Facebook: 

 Official Bandcamp Site: